The idea that reporting the facts about terror attacks encourages more terrorism — an idea ridiculously advanced by the likes of former Secretary of State John Kerry during the Obama administration — has apparently gained some traction in the establishment press.
On Tuesday, bothered by a “FOX NEWS ALERT” (in, oh my gosh, all caps) that “ISIS claims responsibility” for the hostage siege in Melbourne, Australia “that killed one person and injured three cops,” Jonathan Weisman at the New York Times tweeted that such reporting is “giving the terrorists what they want,” and complained that “No attack (is) too small or too far away for a big all-caps alert.”
A Fox & Friends tweet Tuesday morning is what set Weisman off (original tweet includes embedded video):
Weisman’s interest in tagging Fox News for supposedly going over the top is pretty selective, given that Reuters, as seen at CNBC.com, had reported ISIS’s claim of responsibility several hours earlier in its subheadline and first paragraph (underlines are mine):
There is some room to criticize Fox for tagging the hours-old news as an “alert.” But given that most viewers seeing the news were just waking up, and that other networks and news outlets have a long-standing nasty habit of hanging the “alert” and “breaking” labels on items that are hardly significant (examples here [4 day-old news] and here [a minor update to a day-old story]), that complaint seems relatively petty.
Weisman might want to know that the international press already doesn’t report much if any news about most worldwide terror attacks.
As of when this post was prepared, TheReligionOfPeace.com (TROP) had identified “190 Islamic attacks in 27 countries, in which 1535 people were killed and 1806 injured.” The web site cautions that it “does not catch all attacks,” and that “Not all attacks are immediately posted.”
It is especially telling that the vast majority of attacks no one ever heard about are in Islamic countries. Has the western press’s apparent disinterest in reporting these attacks — thus, in Weisman’s view, not “giving terrorists what they want” — done anything to discourage attacks over all these years? Hardly, as the following summaries found at TROP.com reveal:
- 2007: 3096 Islamic attacks in 45 countries, in which 20478 people were killed and 27317 injured.
- 2008: 2212 Islamic attacks in 41 countries, in which 10798 people were killed and 18088 injured.
- 2009: 2131 Islamic attacks in 40 countries, in which 9176 people were killed and 18612 injured.
- 2010: 2023 Islamic attacks in 48 countries, in which 9233 people were killed and 17461 injured.
- 2011: 1986 Islamic attacks in 57 countries, in which 9086 people were killed and 16921 injured.
- 2012: 2480 Islamic attacks in 58 countries, in which 11546 people were killed and 20254 injured.
- 2013: 2822 Islamic attacks in 49 countries, in which 16776 people were killed and 29579 injured.
- 2014: 3002 Islamic attacks in 55 countries, in which 33463 people were killed and 27522 injured.
- 2015: 2862 Islamic attacks in 53 countries, in which 27594 people were killed and 26142 injured.
- 2016: 2478 Islamic attacks in 59 countries, in which 21237 people were killed and 26680 injured.
- 2017 (through June 7): 933 Islamic attacks in 46 countries, in which 6745 people were killed and 7344 injured.
Two quite obvious correlations appear.
The first is between the reduction in worldwide Islamic attacks seen between 2007 and 2011 (over 50 percent fewer deaths and nearly 40 percent fewer injuries) and the 2008 U.S.-Iraqi victory over Al Qaeda in Iraq followed by three years of continued U.S. military involvement there.
The second is between the increase in worldwide Islamic attacks seen between 2011 and 2014 (a more than tripling of the death toll, and injuries returning to the level seen in 2007) following the premature U.S. withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011. This created the power vacuum in the region which gave rise to ISIS. Even after reductions seen in the following two years, the death toll from Islamic attacks was still over double what was seen in 2011.
This year appears to be on track (finally) for genuinely significant reductions to levels last seen five years ago, but it’s too early to conclude that.
The fundamental problem with Weisman’s complaint, of course, is that it represents a form of censorship. In any reported terror attack, people want to know not only who did it, but who “inspired” them. Deliberately suppressing that news for all attacks below some threshold for the number of victims and for how far away they are from the apparent center of the universe in New York City is a convenient way to minimize their exposure, which all too conveniently helps those who want to minimize terrorism’s potential as an existential threat to Western civilization.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.
This post originally appeared on NewsBusters